WWE has reportedly terminated its deal with Panini.
According to Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell, WWE has terminated its deal with Panini for breach of contract. Panini had over two years left on the deal.
“The WWE says Panini, which is still selling product, is now in violation and will seek an injunction,” stated Rovell. Fanatics, which is a WWE partner on merchandise and had the deal beginning in 2026, is expected to get the deal immediately.
JUST IN: Two weeks ago, the WWE terminated Panini for breach of contract with 2+ years left.
The WWE says Panini, which is still selling product, is now in violation and will seek an injunction.
Fanatics, which had deal starting in ‘26, is expected to get rights immediately.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 20, 2023
Both companies filed cases against each other.
Panini Claims (via Brandon Thurston):
– WWE and Panini agreed to a deal on March 14, 2022, to produce trading cards and stickers using WWE IP.
– Panini claims it has performed and fulfilled obligations under the contract.
– “[W]ith no warning whatsoever” on August 28, 2023, Panini received a letter from WWE (dated August 25), purportedly terminating the deal.
– Panini claims this is a breach of contract and wants the termination declared invalid.
– The deal began with a term sheet on October 1, 2021, then they made a four-year agreement on March 14, 2022, making the deal retroactively effective January 1, 2022, and to end in 2025.
– Panini launched the “WWE Prizm” trading card set in April 2022 and stickers the next month. There were digital and physical trading cards. Panini used WWE cards for “Box Wars” or “Pack Wars” games played at conventions.
– Panini says WWE never raised any issues with Panini’s performance, accepted royalty payments, and “praised Panini for tripling the business.”
– WWE allegedly suddenly terminated the deal, purportedly under a provision of the contract giving WWE the right to terminate if Panini “did not engage in good faith efforts” to make WWE physical trading card games and digital trading cards.
– WWE allegedly demanded Panini immediately pay WWE $5,625,000, the minimum royalties due under the contract.
– Panini claims the window to terminate under the provision was between April 1 and June 1, 2022, which has passed.
– Panini wants declarations: that it hasn’t breached the contract, that WWE’s termination is invalid, that the contract remains in effect, and that it doesn’t have to pay the $5,625,000 WWE claims is immediately due.
WWE announced an exclusive multi-year trading card deal with Panini in 2021. The deal began in the first quarter of 2022.
Fightful will provide fans with more details regarding WWE and Panini if and when they are known.